Moist, rich, cupcakes with intense chocolate flavor in every bite. These are the ultimate chocolate cupcakes!
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes | lifemadesimplebakes.com
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to ALL THINGS chocolate! These cupcakes are a scaled-down version of my chocolate blackout cake. They’re perfect for classroom treats, a girls night in, or a romantic dinner.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes | lifemadesimplebakes.com
If you know me, you know I’m pretty particular when it comes to cupcakes. They have to be moist, rich and perfectly sweet. These cupcakes check all of the boxes. They’ve quickly become my go-to recipe. I’ve used them as a base for raspberry buttercream topped cupcakes, salted caramel buttercream topped cupcakes, and mint chocolate chip buttercream topped cupcakes. They’re the best!
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes | lifemadesimplebakes.com
Today I thought I’d go all chocolate… and let me tell you, I have no regrets! They are heavenly. You’ll start by making the cupcakes, then while they cool you’ll mix up the frosting and gather the garnishes.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes | lifemadesimplebakes.com
For both the cupcakes and the frosting it’s important to use quality cocoa powder. I’ve listed a few of my favorites that are available in most well-stocked grocery stores. I also prefer using espresso powder to enhance the overall flavor of the cupcake. It’s optional but highly recommended. Again, you can find it in a small glass jar either in the baking aisle or next to the ground coffee.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes | lifemadesimplebakes.com
After piping the frosting on (see tip suggestions in the recipe notes below), sprinkle the tops with chocolate curls, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate jimmies. If you’re feeling extra decadent grab some ganache and drizzle away. Ditch the boxed mix and make these ultimate chocolate cupcakes instead!


Moist, rich, cupcakes with intense chocolate flavor in every bite. These are the ultimate chocolate cupcakes!



  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1½ c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. quality unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt (not fine)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • 3/4 c. warm water + ½ tsp. espresso powder (espresso is optional)
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. finely chopped semisweet chocolate


  • 3/4 c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. (½ block) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 c. quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3½ c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk or heavy cream


  • 1/3 c. chocolate curls, mini chocolate chips or chocolate jimmies (sprinkles)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one standard size cupcake pan with 12 liners, and an additional pan with four liners, set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
  3. Add eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, warm water, oil, vanilla, and chopped chocolate. Beat on a medium speed until smooth, about a minute.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the liners (I prefer using a #20 scoop which is approximately 1/4 cup of batter).
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 8 minutes. Remove and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. For the frosting: in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  8. Carefully add in the cocoa powder, vanilla and salt, beat until combined.
  9. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. When all of the powdered sugar has been added, beat in heavy cream, then add more if necessary to create a spreadable consistency. The frosting should be on the thicker side.
  10. Using a piping bag fitted with an extra large piping tip (see NOTES below for suggestions), pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with desired garnish.
* I prefer Ghirardelli, Scharffenberger or Guittard Cocoa Rouge
– My favorite large tips are: Ateco 809, Ateco 869, Ateco 829 and Ateco 847.


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